necessary whispers

observe. connect. make new.


February 2016

Love, Death And Resuscitation




Canton died on Monday

And then again on Friday

And in between

A thousand other deaths

All in a row—

His breathing shallow,

His passion stretched wide

Like a well dug for water supply

Now a brimming



Canton’s misery has a name—

A she as you may have guessed

With brownish hair and

Bluish eyes

Anchored to her soul,

Her voice sounds

Like frogs chanting

In the night,

A melody Canton



Her name is Sienna

Like the color artist’s mix

When simple red

Promises nothing of


In its parts—

But complexity

Is the only way

To convey the



She walked into his life—

No, she swam instead

Like a pirate

Fallen out of a ship

Whose pockets were filled,

Whose lungs nearing empty

Needed Canton’s

Breath to make it

To the shore with no



Canton wrapped his arms

Around her belted waist

He pulled her body

Wet with salted


To a warm and sunny

Place where

Resuscitating Sienna

Became his starring



He breathed his life

Into her lungs,

Sienna’s breast inflated

Like a blowfish

Reacting to her fear

Desperately wanting

His protection—

No, that’s not right—

His affection wrapped up in his



Canton died when Sienna


The world collapsed

With her unconsciousness

As though slumber

Was a distance too far to


Not even the moon

Could console his emptied



He died when she blinked,

He could not withstand the dark

Her eyelids commanded—

Like a conductor

Setting the rhythm of

His pain and

One and two and three and


The music behind her open eyes, Canton’s



Canton and Sienna

Clasped their fingers together

Like two pirates searching for love

Crossing a windy expanse—

They cried and laughed

And died and lived

Along the way

Two shipwrecked halves navigating

Toward one mysterious



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

A Poem: The Moonlight’s Reach


(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German painter Heiko Müller‘s brush drawing, Untitled (b/w-study 20, 2012).


It was not what she said

But what she


Not say

That stabbed me in the


And bled me dry

I felt like I would climb

But instead I

Died in her silence.


The truancy of heart

With which she


In all directions

South when I was North

In due time

As the Winter turned

To Spring

Burned me

In my solitude.


The way she melted

Under the sun

Made my skin


Down like creeping wax

From a candle already

Shortened with use

In moments captured

By the sun but lived

In the light of the moon.


She was and is elusive

In the gifts she gives and


With fortitude of Queens and

Warriors on the field

Of war and

In the tents

Shrouded in white


Draped to conceal

But not to protect.


It was not what she held

But what she dropped and


At her feet in shards

Cutting further

Than she wanted to go

Longer than she wanted to


Costing more than she

Wanted to pay.


I faced the moon

Grateful for his constancy


Inside his transparency

Like a fish swimming

Amidst the bubbles in the deep

Where no one understands

And understood only


That she was beyond

The moonlight’s reach.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Standing In Water, Alone


(Photo Credit: Gregory Crewdson)


Wet air licking my pores

Pulling sweat from beneath

Skin pierced with mosquitoes

And leftover sun,

Drenched with summer.


Another half-love come and gone

With the changing of the seasons

And the changing of the mind

With swiftness and a self-aggrandizing

Bowing of the head—a whole goodbye.


A promise made, a promise left

In the midst of the doldrums

Creeping past my open window

The screen of which catches

All the flies but not the leeches.


Water rising as high as the rain

With a voice like wind through trees

Pulling weight from one side, or

Maybe pushing me away

With the flow of my mind.


Nothing is too bad or

All is not as good as the rhythm

I had known before this . . .

This . . . current swept newly

Through and past my soul—what I miss is old.


I say my soul but it was really my heart

And the fullness of its breadth

Floated through my mind,

A buoy of strength and weakness and

Resignation to me, made new.


Newly resigned and to my past

Declined like a Dowager

Sitting on a perch inside a house

Meant for one,

No longer for two.


If only he

Could pass through my knees

Like water flowing from and to

Pressing my skin with life

And with movement

Now one, remembering two.


I guess I will stand here

Patient but not patient

Waiting because waiting is all there is

For him to turn the wheel

To decide a decision for he and for I.


Nature wraps itself around

My heart that aches and slips

Right through

To the bottom of the breath I hold

Until he returns, changing old to new.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Unintended Garden


(Photo credit: Gregory Crewdson)


The trash he threw away

Outside his walls—

Inside his walls was not

The place—


To the rubber

Of his sole

Like glue,

Like seeds

He planted it all

In the fiber

Of the carpeting

She vacuumed

And it grew.


He tried to hide the


But rottenness peels away

From the skin and


To the air

First to vibrations

Then to currents

And finally

To lips

To Teeth and

To hair.


The seeds divided—

As seeds often do—

They burrowed

Sprouted and

Grew something


First one

And then a few

Until a garden of


Wreaking with intention

And budding in the

Soil of hidden



With the old

What used to be



He dug a hole

Sweating beads of regret

To open the


Like a coffin

Like a womb

Wanting to bury

And wanting to exhume

Neither up nor


Felt like escape

So he sat on the


And smoked cigarettes

That stuck

To the sides

Of his guilt

Like tape.


First one puff

And then another

Until the pile grew

And back to work

He faced

The hole

Like a coal miner

Climbing from above

And falling through

To the core

To the roots

To the bastion

Of the yes’s and

The no’s

He thrust

Into the landfill,

Bandied away—

They recycled themselves

And pushed from

Beneath and

Littered the


Like maggots wriggling

Toward their



The seeds grew

Around him

The weeds pointed

And laughed—

While the mud and

The worms

And the guts

Writhing on his behalf

Circled like a

Witch’s brew

Bubbling and

Filling his conscious

With steam

Whose anxiety


Into view

With a sputter of blood

And a splash

Of sludge

Tilting his world



As the sun began to rise

And rays of


Bled through

He knew his task was


His chances few—

He heard her


Pad through the kitchen

And smelled the

Grinding of beans

And he wanted to


The mundane—

The coffee

The sugar

The cream—

But he knew

It would never

Be the same.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

The Day She Said No More


Photo Credit: This poem was inspired by German artist Conny Stark)


A chill

A tremor

A glance toward the floor

A slicing through the air

With words

Sharp and


Atmosphere gluttonous

And fat

With globules of

All the hate he had eaten


Now digested and

Fueling the



He vomits lies

One and then

One more


And then one more—

And wipes it off the floor

To fashion

With his hands

The garments

He flings

Toward her,

“Put this on,”

As though she were

His mannequin.


She bends her knee

To his lies

And slathers

What dripped

From his mouth

Onto her face—

Masking what is true

And wearing

What he has construed,

She misconstrues

What is false

For what must be

And in his eyes

She sees

His power



Shrinking hues of

Human blue

Shrivel into black—

He lowers his head

Like a dog

Unleashed and standing


His prey


She thinks but

Does not say


She braces,

Her heart races

As she maps his face

For traces

Of who she assumed

Him to be.


The sound of a

Rapier and dagger

A shot fired

The kicking away of the stand

Under a noose

Two Broadswords clash

In the night

A fight

With no enemy

But brutal in its


To the sanctity of

Two lives becoming one



She opens her mouth

To let the fear

Fall out—

It repels down her


Jumps off her chin and

Runs into the


Where it found safety



She watches it run

And dreams of being


So she too could

Skitter away

Like a fearful mouse

Hiding in this home,



This house.


Purple begins to sprawl

Across her face and

Down her arm—

Once more her


His canvas

Drying in colors

Darker than

He intended

And that—

What he intended—

Is unclear as the fog

Of war

Flies around his head

Like a flock of

Birds flapping in formation

And leaving the cold

For the



He lowers his hand

A gesture

A gift

An invitation

From his guilt to

Her confusion—

She accepts as she

Has accepted


And stands.



A chill

A tremor

A look to the floor—


“It began with a lie,”

She thinks

But does not say and

She wonders why

The dusty lenses in his frames

Project her in this way—

And why so many times


She wore the vomit-sewn

Coat shaking at her feet

Like a prisoner of



“No more,”

she thinks and then

she says—

A sentence that


Like an arrow through

His armor of


“You want to roar

You want me to squeak,

You want to be called Control

You want my name to be Weak.”

Then one more string of words,

“No more.”


A tremor

A doubt

A glimmer of


Reflected off the moon to

Light her way

To blind his eyes

From seeing her

Walk away—

Into the night

She limped

Like a rabbit

Whose foot had been

Cut off and given

To him for luck


She walked

And the walking

Was building her strength.


She was tempted to

Look back

To see her


But instead her


Drove forward—

She thought to herself

But did not say,

“No more before,

Only today.”


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson




Her Courage Slipped Into Her Feet



She looked him in the eyes

As he rolled his tongue around

With words

And words

While he

Never said one word of it—

It was all she knew

He was not saying

And all he thought

She would not

Or could not



An open mouth

Dripping down—

His lips like wax

Melting at the sound

Of his own soul’s

Around and around

Like Flint Stones

Hard and cold

And beating together

To set fire to

The campground.


She stared at his mouth

To see if she could spot the


Drawn from the edges

And around—

A marionette

To all he assumed

She wanted to hear

Right above his beard

Was the flapping,

The slapping

Together of the script.


She had this feeling he imagined

The same

The hand up her back

Becoming what he



And it furrowed her brow


The reflection of himself

Sat on the shelf

Where he also kept his heart

And his mind


For a cluttered time.


“Stop,” she said

A bead of sweat

Holding to the edge of

Her hair

Like a skydiver

Regretting the dare.

Then he asked,



She drew a picture

Of the why

On the wall of her brain

Then softened the edges

To make the image

More tame—

But just before she added

The frame—

She saw in the corner

An artist called Shame

Who laughed in delight

As she edited the truth

Like she was playing

A Parlor game.




She opened her mouth

And fire came out—

Like a dragon

Dragging the fuel

From the center of her and

Into a pool

Of lava burning

The kindling

Of paper drawings

Torn from the sides

Of her brain

Violent like

A war game

And strong with veracity

In the flames.


He stepped back

And then fell

Into confusion

As in a spell and

Lowered his head

Just a bit,

“But I thought

You were fooled,

I assumed you

Needed this school,

In fact, I was sure of it.”


She looked him in the eyes

As his tongue fell and

Hung off to the side—

Like a dog

Running a race

No longer keeping

The pace.

She whispered,

“I knew all along

That It

Was stuck behind your teeth

But I had to wait

For your truth to

Clash with my courage

And now my courage

Is falling into

My feet.”


And then she walked away.



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson


Photo credit: Gregory Crewdson

A Children’s Story: Young Micah And His Superhero Glasses


(Photo credit: German painter Heiko Müller‘s piece, Swallow.

Dear parents and anyone who loves children:  Please feel free to read this story to any child who does not want to wear their glasses.  Remember, glasses hold super powers within their lenses . . . 


“My super power is not flying,” Mr. Bird squawked as he wondered were this lady haled from. “Flying is just my thing. It’s what I do. If I had a super power it would be something that no other bird could muster. The dogs don’t refer to their barking as super, nor do the mice think themselves superior for eating cheese.”


“Mussster?” hissed Miss Snake. “That is a big word for a bird. Got any more in there? Or was that only big one you know?”


“Let’s get back to business,” said Dr. Chipmunk who had a milk mustache and probably should have used a straw. “We are gathered together today to discuss the topic of young Micah’s new glasses. You see, he cannot see . . . wait a moment. I said something funny just then. Did you hear? I said, ‘You see, he cannot see!’ Ha! I don’t usually crack hilarious jokes but . . .”


“You didn’t crack one this time either, Dr. Chipmunk,” said Mr. Bird.


“Come now. Be nice,” hissed Miss Snake. “Go on, Dr. Chipmunk.”


“I will say it in a different way so we don’t all get caught up in giggles and forget the importance of the day,” Dr. Chipmunk once again overestimated his comic genius. “Young Micah was having a hard time reading his books at school and, as I overheard his brother saying to a friend, he was even beginning to experience difficulty in seeing the games on his Xbox. So, Micah’s father had a wonderful idea, as Micah’s father is wont to do. He has decided that young Micah will get glasses.”


“Glasses?” asked Mr. Bird.


“Glasses?” asked Miss Snake.


“Yes, glasses,” answered Dr. Chipmunk.


Miss Snake rolled over on her back and looked toward the sky, “Oh my! Glasses! What a lucky boy he is! I have always wished I could wear glasses but, as you can see, my face is too small and my eyes sit too far apart. But, oh my! Glasses look so handsome on our human friends.”


Mr. Bird, reluctant to agree with Miss Snake, chimed in, “I must say, Miss Snake, you and I have something in common. Perhaps only this one thing: I, too, find the human folk look rather charming when they don glasses atop their noses: especially the little ones. Why, glasses make the young ones look debonair, charming and, dare I say, dashing.”


“Oh, please,” cried Miss Bird, “Ssstop with the big words! And for the love of all that is good, please come to your points much quicker!”


Mr. Bird lifted his beak into the air and flapped his wings twice, too quickly to actually fly, “Miss Bird! I will thank you not to critique my every word! I am simply saying that glasses are quite pleasing to the eye.”


The milky-faced Chipmunk giggled, “Glasses? Pleasing to the eye? Oh, now you’ve made a joke, Mr. Bird!” Dr. Chipmunk continued giggling while Miss Snake rolled her wide-set eyes in his general direction and Mr. Bird stood staring at the sky wondering, “Why?”


Realizing he had begun to lose control of the meeting, Dr. Chipmunk cleared his throat and began again, “The problem, friends, is this: Micah feels, well, a little embarrassed about having to wear his new glasses to school. He isn’t sure the other children will like his new glasses so he refusing to wear them.”


“Well, that is preposterous, Dr. Chipmunk!” squawked Mr. Bird. “Glasses not only look dashing but they are also quite helpful, you know. In fact, they offer super powers to all those who wear them. That is really quite amazing!”


Miss Snake raised the top half of her body, “Now I must agree with Mr. Bird for the second time in one day, which is certainly a record. Sure, glasses look great but they are also . . . “ Miss Snake’s voice trailed off and then she whispered the next word, “Powerful.”


Dr. Chipmunk shuttered at the word itself and answered, “Both of you are right. Contained within the lenses of young Micah’s glasses is a special potion, concocted by our Greek friend, Mikanos the Mouse.” Now it was Dr. Chipmunk’s turn to whisper, “Within the potion there are elements that dance together, as the Lords and Ladies used to do in the great halls of the most prestigious castles, and then the dancing elements will tiptoe into young Micah’s eyes giving him the super power of . . . seeing as far as the birds can see.”


Miss Snake rolled around on the ground while Mr. Bird flapped his wings so hard that he flew straight to the tops of the trees. “Amazing!” said Mr. Bird from his leafy perch. “So, you are telling us that young Micah will be able to see far and wide? He will be able to discern all the bright colors in the world, pinpoint every detail from miles away and he will be able to see his prey in ultraviolet hues?”


“Now, now,” Dr. Chipmunk said in an effort to calm Mr. Bird. “Young Micah not be able to see ultraviolet hues but . . .” his voice grew with excitement, “He WILL, however, be able to see far and wide! He will be able to discern all the bright colors in the world and pinpoint every detail from miles away!”


Miss Snake composed herself to say, “That IS a super power, Dr. Chipmunk! You were right! The dancing elements inside young Micah’s glasses will allow him to read all the books he’s every wanted to read and to see all the details in the world so he can draw them, or paint them, or even write about them himself!”


Mr. Bird energetically tweeted, “And what if one of our animal friends falls into trouble? Like the time Katherine the Kitten was trapped on top of the slide at the playground. Why, young Micah would be able to see that she was in need and run to help her! That IS a super power, indeed!”


“Yes,” exclaimed Dr. Chipmunk. “Now you’ve got the idea! Young Micah’s glasses will not only make him look handsome but they will also help him become a hero!”


All of the animals cheered together.


“There is only one problem,” said Dr. Chipmunk as he looked toward the ground. “Remember, young Micah doesn’t really want to wear his glasses.”


“Not wear them?” Miss Snake slithered closely to Dr. Chipmunk. “But he must! He can become a hero and the world desperately needs heroes, Dr. Chipmunk. Don’t you agree? Young Micah has a heart of gold and I know that if he could see all the details of the world he would surely help lost kittens, or help his friends at school if their expressions looked sad. He may even be able to create new things and bring more beauty to the world! What can we do to convince him?”


“I am glad you asked,” said Dr. Chipmunk before he took another drink of his milk. “I have written an itinerary for the two of you.” Then, Dr. Chipmunk burped and continued on, “Here is the plan! Miss Snake, I would like for you to retrieve the glasses from our Greek friend Mikanos the Mouse. He has prepared the potion, put it into the lenses, put the lenses into the frames and now they are ready for young Micah to wear. All you need to do is pick them up from our Greek friend. Can you do that?”


Miss Snake squinted her eyes as though a great amount of focus fell into her mind, “Yes, sir! I will retrieve the glasses at once! Right now!” Miss Snake slithered away as speedily as her slimy body could go.


Dr. Chipmunk turned to Mr. Bird, “And you, Mr. Bird. When Miss Snake returns with the glasses, I would like for you to deliver them to young Micah as swiftly as you can. The quicker he puts them atop his nose, the quicker the world will become a safer place to live.”


“I will do as you asked!” Mr. Bird felt proud of his assignment.


After he received his mission from Dr. Chipmunk, Mr. Bird flew straight to his nest, which sat in a tree overlooking a beautiful lake. He retrieved his backpack, a sleeping bag and his magical Smart Wand, which could work as a GPS to give him directions to all the places he needed to travel. The backpack was big enough to fit young Micah’s glasses and Mr. Bird figured the sleeping bag might be useful if he became weary after his flight and needed to take a nap atop some tall tree.


Right about the same time, both Mr. Bird and Miss Snake returned to Dr. Chipmunk, who was blowing bubbles in his milk.


“I got the glasses!” Miss Snake said, a little out of breath. “As you can see, I wrapped the lower half of my body around the glasses and slithered back as quickly as I could.”


Mr. Bird, who did not often compliment Miss Snake replied, “Good work, Miss Snake.”


Miss Snake blushed. But only a little bit. “Thank you, Mr. Bird.”


“Now we are ready to move forth with the mission!” Dr. Chipmunk jumped up and down, as much as a Chipmunk can jump, and he said with elation, “Mr. Bird! The mission is in your hands. Miss Snake and I know you will do your best to deliver young Micah’s glasses to him safely.” Dr. Chipmunk thought for a moment. “I do have one extra request, Mr. Bird. Now, I don’t want to burden you with too much to do but if you could take a photograph of young Micah wearing his glasses I would love to see it. I would like to know what he looks like as a super hero!”


Mr. Bird thought it a reasonable request and he thought of his Smart Wand, which could also take photos. “I will do my best,” he replied.


Mr. Bird prepared himself for flight. First, he entered young Micah’s address into his Smart Wand so he would know the way. Second, he shook his tail feathers behind him, flapped his wings up and down slowly—to stretch all of the muscles he would use. Third, he began to tweet into the air. “I am ready to go,” said Mr. Bird with confidence and determination.


Mr. Bird lifted himself into the air, following his wand. He soared high above the trees, above buildings and cars, people and trains. His focus was fierce and his wings rested on the currents of the wind, which took him higher and higher as he flew. Mr. Bird sang hello to the other birds that he passed along the way (but he had to say hello out of the corner of his beak so as not to drop his Smart Wand) and when his mouth became dry he lowered himself to the puddles and streams below but not for long! He continued and continued on until, finally, he arrived at young Micah’s house.


Mr. Bird looked for a soft spot to land and he chose a fluffy patch of grass in Micah’s backyard. Mr. Bird peeked through the windows of the house to see if he could spot young Micah. He looked through the basement windows, then on the main floor—first then kitchen, then the living room and nest, the dining room. When Mr. Bird did not see young Micah there, he flew higher, to the second floor. “There he is!” Mr. Bird squawked to himself.


Micah was sitting at the desk in his room drawing a picture with both markers and colored pencils.


Mr. Bird slowly landed on the windowsill just above young Micah’s head. He put his Smart Wand in his backpack and then lifted the glasses with his beak. He tapped on the windowsill and young Micah looked up.


“What a silly bird,” said Micah as he exchanged his red marker for a blue one. “Go away, you silly bird!”


Mr. Bird would not be deterred. He flapped his wings hard and tapped again.


Micah ignored Mr. Bird at first but as his taps became louder, he looked again. “This bird is the rudest bird I have ever met!” he said to himself. Then he spoke to Mr. Bird, “Excuse me, you rude bird. I am trying to draw a picture here and I cannot concentrate because you are making too much noise! Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?”


Mr. Bird shook his head from side to side and opened his beak. The glasses fell onto the windowsill.


“What the?” Micah noticed the glasses for the first time. He squinted his eyes and leaned in close to the window. Then, Micah opened the window. “How did you get these, you silly, rude bird? These look like human glasses. In fact, they look like the pair my father wants me to wear. But . . . how did you get them?” Micah was puzzled and a little amazed.


Mr. Bird tweeted a song to young Micah. The melody of the song was slow and calm. The song itself was encouraging and it flooded Micah’s room with a light-hearted mood.


“Hm,” thought Micah. Then he said, “Though our meeting was strange and you did distract me from my drawing, I like you little bird. You have a nice voice and your colors are pure. Black and blue, like a raven. I can see that you want me to wear these glasses, but I just . . . well, I just don’t want to.”


Mr. Bird continued to sing his song. First it was a beautiful aria, filled with melodies so graceful that Micah almost fell asleep. When Mr. Bird saw Micah’s eyes begin to close he changed the song completely. The second song he sang was a heavy metal song. It was filled with loud beats and rhythms that caused Micah’s toes to start tapping. Soon, Micah was dancing around his room and jumping on his bed. Mr. Bird began to sing more loudly.


“Okay, okay, you little bird. I can see you are not going to leave me alone until I do as you wish. I will put the glasses on my face. But I assure you, I will not like them!” Micah stepped to the windowsill, reached for the glasses and placed them atop his nose.


Suddenly, Micah’s lips turned into a broad smile. He looked around his room and saw details he had never before seen. Then, he ran back to the window and looked into the world.


Micah exclaimed, “I can see far and wide! I can discern all the bright colors in the world! I can pinpoint every detail from miles away!” Micah looked here and there, up and down, side to side. “It is all more beautiful than I had ever realized!”


Mr. Bird tweeted and hopped along the windowsill. He was proud of Micah and happy for him, too.


As Micah ran around his room looking at everything as if for the first time, Mr. Bird tweeted his good-bye and began to fly away. Micah saw that the bird was just about to leave so he stopped him.


“Wait, little bird!” Micah picked up the drawing he had been working on when Mr. Bird first interrupted him. “Please take this drawing, little Bird. I would like you to have it, as a thank you gift from me to you.” Mr. Bird was touched. He even felt one teardrop well up in the corner of his eye and fall onto the windowsill beneath his feet. Mr. Bird tweeted, “Thank you, young Micah,” and then lifted his wings and flew away with the drawing in his beak.


Micah turned to his bedroom door and ran to the kitchen where his father stood cooking. “Dad,” said Micah. “Look!”


Micah’s father turned to Micah and smiled a big, beautiful smile, “My boy! You are wearing your glasses! I am so proud of you!” Micah felt proud, too.


“May I go outside to play now, dad?”


“Of course you can, son. Have fun.”


Micah stepped through his front door and into the sunshine. He could see the edges of the clouds above and the silhouette of each blade of grass below. He giggled as he walked down the sidewalk and noticed the bricks in the houses and the spokes on the hubcaps of the cars that drove by. Micah could see the whole world and he was amazed by it, too.


Suddenly, Micah heard something crying. The cry was high and loud. “What the?” said Micah to himself.


As he ran toward the sound of the cry, the elements in the special potion concocted by Mikanos the Mouse began to hastily tiptoe from Micah’s lenses and into his eyes. He could see that a puppy was trapped under a bush near the entrance to the park. Micah ran for the puppy and saw, quite clearly, that his paw was wrapped around one of the branches. Micah lay on the ground in front of the bush, unwrapped the puppy’s paw and pulled the puppy to safety.


Mr. Bird, who had not yet flown far, stopped his journey to watch Micah’s heroism from atop a nearby chimney. He snapped a photo of Micah with his wand, as Dr. Chipmunk asked him to do. Then Mr. Bird said to himself, “Micah’s first act of heroism. The first of many, I am sure.” With that, Mr. Bird turned back toward the sky and began his flight home as Micah sat on the grass comforting the puppy and giggling as it licked his neck and cheeks.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Knowing Is The Only Knowing



She put her hands above her face—

Fingers long and slender—

Extended her neck so she could see

Behind the shadow and under the moonlight

As though a longer neck would help her eyes

To focus.



It is funny the things we do

When we want to


What is real.

We stand up taller

Use a cloth to clean our glasses

Rub our eyelids and

Open them wide.


We are the only animals

To do such things

And the only animals that


We have to make concessions.



He cupped his hands to the back of his ears—

Strands of hair got in the way—

Hid behind a tree so he could hear

The songs she sang to herself

As though his hands were gathering

The sound.



It is desperate the things we do

When we want to


What is real.

We bend at the waist

And strain our backs

We twist our necks and

Close our eyes to block out

The rest.

When we want to hear

A voice and

Presence of another

It is a choice.

We cannot rely on chance.



She lifted her nose toward the winter branches—

Her neck lay all the way back—

From inside the crook of an Oak

She could vaguely smell the cigar he smoked

The dampened mud rose to

Camouflage the scent.



It is urgent the things we do

When we want to


What is real.

We close our eyes

Soften our lips

Lift our nostrils

Like wisps of smoke

To conjure the

Air floating in invisible wafts

Around us

Brought down by

A spell wrought by the will

To discover the whole instead of a sliver.



He touched the soggy leaves under his shoes—

Buried his fingers all the way through—

To ask the earth if she was near

His fear was that he would not feel

Her footsteps

So he crawled until an indentation appeared.



It is passionate the things we do

When we want to


What is real.

We bend our knees

Put our faces to the ground

Cover the backs of our heads

With our hands

And roll our bodies down

As low as we

Can go

Because the

Earth will tell the truth

About how to lay ourselves low.



She kissed the back of his head—

He was kneeling in the mud—

Told him without words

That he was found

And to the ground

She sank beside him.



It is magnificent the things we do

When we want to


What is real.

We open our mouths

Let the edge of our


Invite the textures

And the taste

The sweet

The sour

The bitter

The salt—

Nourished by the whole.



For a moment each of them broke

Like a glass

And their senses spilled

On the ground

Gravity let them fall around—

Sight and hearing,


Touch and


No longer necessary

Because when a thing is real

Knowing is the only knowing.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

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